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Promoting Democracy In Iran

President George W. Bush has asked the U.S. Congress to allocate an additional seventy-five million dollars in 2005 to promote democracy in Iran. Congress has already allocated ten-million dollars. Part of the additional funds will be used to expand radio and satellite television broadcasting to Iran.

"Iran is a country that is going one-hundred-eighty degrees in the other direction in terms of democracy for its own people," says U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice:

"Perhaps one of the biggest challenges we face is the policy of the Iranian regime which is a policy of the destabilization of the world's most volatile and vulnerable region. It's not just Iran's nuclear program. It's also their support for terrorism around the world. They are, in effect, the central banker for terrorism around the world."

Promoting democracy and respect for human rights in Iran, says Ms. Rice, "is an important thing to do":

"The Iranian people deserve better. This is a people who are connected to the outside world. It's a great culture. They are great people and they deserve to be able to govern themselves."

Ms. Rice says the U.S. will also expand educational exchanges with Iranians. At its height in the 1970s, a peak number of fifty-one thousand Iranians studied in the United States. That figure is two-thousand today. The U.S. "must change this," she says, and the U.S. "is beginning a new effort to dramatically increase the number of Iranians who can come to America, the number of Iranian professionals who wish to visit."

The U.S., says Secretary of State Rice, "will actively confront the policies of the Iranian regime, and at the same time we are going to work to support the aspirations of the Iranian people for freedom in their own country."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.